Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM



By Chinedu Bosah

Buhari’s recent statement when he visited the United State of America that his government will continue the privatization program has shown clearly that the present government will not deviate from pro-capitalist, anti-people policies. “I will like to remind you all,” said Buhari, “that we are continuing in major privatization programme with sectors ranging from telecommunication, energy, gas, solid minerals, aviation, health and infrastructure development but with improved moral architecture.”

The extension of Manitoba contract to 2016 shows clearly that Buhari’s government is continuing the ruinous economy policies of the Jonathan’s administration. Manitoba was awarded the contract on July 30, 2012 to manage Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) for 3 years at a fee of $23 million and this has been extended to another year despite non-performance. The contract and its extension were dictated by the World Bank whereas Manitoba is a public owned corporation in Canada but profiting privately from the current darkness in Nigeria.

Where is now the change mantra when Buhari’s government will continue the economic program of the previous PDP-led governments including that of Goodluck Jonathan? This has further underscored the fact that All Progressives’ Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are, at base, fundamentally same of same. The privatization policy, an aspect of neo-liberal capitalist policies that places priority on private profit at the expense of overwhelming interest of the working masses and poor, is in line with the dictate of the Bretton Wood Institutions (World Bank, IMF etc.,) and imperialist nations that demand the domination of the economy by multinationals and few so-called local investors. This is rationalized on the basis that it will let loose what capitalist economists call the “animal spirits” that will spur on growth and well-being. However this has not been seen or enjoyed by the vast majority of Nigerians. Goodluck Jonathan’s government failed to meet the aspirations and needs of the working masses and the poor, like Obasanjo’s government and others before it, simply because it subscribed to, and implemented, anti-poor, neo-liberal capitalist policies that undermine the economic interest of the vast majority of the working class.

The Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) supports any effort at fighting corruption at all levels, but we hold that it is not possible to wage a serious fight against corruption where capitalist policies of privatization, deregulation, contract system of executing projects, concessionalisation etc., are implemented. This is because corruption, waste and inefficiencies are embedded in capitalist neo-liberal policies. Hence, fighting corruption without putting an end to neo-liberal capitalist policies is like expecting he-goat to produce milk.

All the dictates of the World Bank and IMF have always spelt doom for countries that implement them. It explains why key infrastructural development are abandoned in order not to compete with the multinational corporations in the imperialist nations such as the deliberate abandonment of the steel industry vis-Å•-vis Ajaokuta steel and others or giving leeway to the multinational corporations to dominate sectors like the oil and gas sectors. This control and dominance allows for massive exploitation that engenders poverty, joblessness, underdevelopment and massive infrastructural development.

Capitalism cannot develop Nigeria

The Buhari government, like the previous governments, is wasting public resources junketing around the world looking for foreign investors. In fact, if these funds are invested, it will impact positively on the working masses at least to some extent. The so-called foreign investors will always go to countries where it is most profitable. Nigeria as a country lacking in basic infrastructure no thanks to the pro-rich capitalist oriented government as well as the Breton Woods Institutions and is never the first port of call for investors in production except where profitable subsidy or other kind of state support is guaranteed. These expectant foreign investors will always go to countries with profitable infrastructure and pro-rich government.

However, it is an illusion for Buhari’s government to expect foreign investors to come and develop Nigeria. The few investors that have come to invest had largely carried out workplace policies (casualisation, contract staffing etc.,) that place workers at precarious situation with government turning a blind eye to it. Besides, lack of infrastructure explains why the so-called foreign investors are only mostly interested in extractive industries and services where the large population of the country can be exploited for super profit. The presence in Nigeria of a few firms selling to the country’s tiny rich and super-rich elite is no sign of the general health of the economy, rather it clear pointer to the country’s gross inequality and corruption.

Since imperialism and multinationals corporations will not be interested in helping to fully develop third world countries like Nigeria and the fact that the bourgeois ruling elite in Nigeria are incapable of developing it, the task is only left for the working class who feel the brunt of underdevelopment and are strategically positioned to carry out the task of development on a planned and democratic basis. It will require a defeat of anti-poor capitalist ruling elite and their neo-liberal bourgeois agenda to rescue the economy from its present decaying state. This is why we have consistently called for the formation of mass working peoples’ party on the socialist program that can help achieve a government that acts for the working people and poor. This will enthrone a working class agenda wherein the key/major sectors of the economy are nationalized and placed under democratic working class control and management to undermine corruption and waste and engender massive investment and development in an atmosphere of transparency and accountability such that can meet the needs of all.